The CNMI Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a certified question as to who the governor should appoint to fill a vacancy in the Senate with the resignation of Rota senator Juan M. Ayuyu.
CNMI Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexandro C. Castro has ordered that, unless otherwise waived by the parties, a hearing on the certified question is set for Tuesday at 10:30am.
Castro allotted each party 30 minutes to present their arguments.
Castro said a motion to postpone or allow a longer argument may be made in advance of the scheduled hearing date.
Sen. Frank Cruz submitted a certified question as to who should replace Ayuyu, who stepped down as senator after pleading guilty to charges relating to the smuggling of endangered fruit bats from Rota to Saipan.
Cruz believes that Joey Quitugua should replace Ayuyu because Quitugua got the next highest vote among Rota senatorial candidates in the 2009 elections.
Rep. Janet Maratita and Sen. Pete P. Reyes, however, believe that former Senate president Paul A. Manglona should be appointed as he got the next highest vote among candidates in the 2012 senatorial elections.
U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona recently granted Ayuyu’s request to postpone his sentencing to Dec. 20, 2013, at 9am. The original sentencing date was Nov. 8, 2013. Last August, the court allowed his temporary release while he awaits his sentencing.